Letter to the editor
Following are responses to an FCW.com poll question that asked: "Do you favor dividing the Senior Executive Service into a corps of managers and a corps of technical experts?"
The SES was supposed to be a professional, executive management cadre with individuals who could move between agencies and departments providing expert management. Today, (for various reasons, pay compression being one) the SES is loaded with "technicians" with very thin management expertise.
If you view SES vacancy announcements, you will note that technical skill and agency knowledge are valued more than management skill.
Also, it is rare for SES executives to be hired from the ranks of GS-14/15s outside of an agency and rare to see those executives leave to take up executive management posts in other agencies, unless they are in the "technician" category. That was not the "plan" for the SES.
Edward Powell Retired federal employee
There is no real career path for technical experts who do not want a management job.
Executives tend to choose a path to SES and turn away from technical issues. You end up with a cadre of technically weak managers/executives and that's not acceptable in the Information Age!
There's a failure by executives to even listen to the technical experts, who they consider too far below their grade.
Richard Wright Volpe National Transportation Systems Center Transportation Department